MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 7th)
"That's awesome. It's a great deal for Carl. They really ran good. We couldn't run with those front two, but we had better tires there at the end and then we had a flat. So I guess we were unlucky that the caution came out and lucky that it did because we were fixin' to get swallowed up. We'll take a top five. It was a great run for our guys."
WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH TIRE PROBLEMS TODAY? "I don't know. They went flat."
YOU WERE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR BRAKES GOING INTO THE RACE. ANY PROBLEMS THERE? "I had to pump 'em all day on every corner."
ANY PROBLEMS OR WORRIES ABOUT THE TIRES? "We were worried and concerned because we're racing to make that chase and we had a flat. Unfortunately, I was gonna take a run at 'em. I had newer tires than the first two and we were sitting in third, but when I went down there in the corner and stepped on the gas to get a run the right rear went down. I guess we were lucky that the caution did come out because we were able to finish up with a flat tire."
A GOOD POINTS DAY. STILL THINKING BIG PICTURE? "It would have been better without that flat."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Stonebridge Life Taurus - VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW - WERE YOU SURPRISED TO WIN HERE TODAY? "Of course I was surprised, man. I'd never seen the place until we rode through the tunnel a couple of days ago, but it was so cool. This is one of the neatest parts about this deal is my pit crew and how flawlessly they performed. I've got the greatest pit crew in the business and they're just killing it on every pit stop. They're coming together. The other cool thing is the crowd. I couldn't believe it. The crowd is awesome. I've got to thank Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch. Those guys raced me great all day. We had a blast."
WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN THE LAST CAUTION CAME OUT? "I don't know. When situations like that occur I always get really, really nervous. And then what I try to remember is that's what we're in this sport for is to get that feeling to go out here and do something special and to have that feeling. After I thought about that I was fine. I knew we were gonna win that race."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 Sharpie Taurus (Finished 22nd)
"I thought we were gonna get a good finish. I thought we could stay out. We're a team that normally doesn't abuse tires. We could have got a top five, but the left-front blew and then we had trouble getting it back on because things were bent. It was a bummer day. I thought we could really turn it into a positive."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus (Finished 28th) - WHAT WAS GOING ON OUT THERE TODAY? "I haven't got a clue. I've been at it a long time and never seen anything like that. I think they came back and said, 'Don't hit the curbs.' That was sort of a lame excuse, really. We just had a major problem today, I'm not sure. We had some tires look perfect and other tires that when they came off, even after a short run, they looked like they were ready for the junkyard."
DID YOU HAVE AN EXTREME CAMBER SETTING? "No. Our stuff was conservative."
SO YOU WEREN'T HITTING THE CURB MORE THAN NORMAL? "I usually get to the curb, but I don't hit it. And then when they said, that must have been the thing that Goodyear I guess passed through the garage was don't hit the curbs, so I stayed two feet away from the curbs and we still blew three tires after that so I don't know."
HOW MANY TIRES DID YOU LOSE? "We lost five of them. A lot of it we just went easy. After that, heck, you're afraid to race after that."
ANY PROBLEMS AT VEGAS? "No. It's a shame. We had a decent car today, but we just couldn't show it."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus (Finished 13th)
"We just struggled. We started out and the car wasn't too bad, but then we started losing spots on pit stops and then we got it really loose. We had to fight back from all of that and used some strategy there at the end and it worked out OK for us." DID YOU HAVE ANY TIRE ISSUES? "Nothing that anything came apart or anything, but I had one set that was just really loose. The car went from being tight to just wrecking every corner, so it was kind of the same scenario we saw with this tire in Las Vegas. Obviously, there's something going on there with it, but we still didn't have the car exactly right."
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pocono 500, Page 3 June 12, 2005 Pocono Raceway
CARL EDWARDS POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE JACK ROUSH, Car Owner - No. 99 Stonebridge Life Taurus - WHAT DOES YOUR FIRST WIN AT POCONO MEAN? "It feels great. This is my 33rd time to bring a racing program to Pocono. I always enjoy the Poconos. I enjoy the fans and enjoy the different scenery. Being in the woods. Being top of the mountain. The fog is a little aggravating trying to get into Mt. Pocono with my little airplane, but the rest of it is absolutely a treat. Last night, I came back with Carl and Amanda (Beard) from Nashville. About 3 o'clock we tried to land at Mt. Pocono and couldn't do it and had to go out to Wilkes-Barre, but the race track has been great. The community is just super and it's really, really good to be challenged by this race track. It's so much different than anyplace else we go."
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 16 AND THE TIRE ISSUES TODAY? "I'm not sure. I'll say that I think there were some things on the race track. I'm sure Mark ran over something and got his rear tire. I suspect that Kurt ran over something and got his tire when he had problems within two or three laps after he just made a pit stop. So I'm sure we punished a couple of those tires running over things. Fatback stopped me about halfway through the race when I was on my way to the bathroom and told me to tell Carl to be careful of the curb. Ricky had figured out that whenever he bumped the curb, which was one of the things he was doing down there, that he was hurting his sidewall. So based on Fatback McSwain giving me that advice, I cautioned Carl and hopefully, if there was a temptation to use that part of the race track, he didn't do that. But there were a number of the tires, I'm sure, that were hurt today from air pressure that was unadvisably low. There were a number of tires hurt that had aggressive camber curves or static camber adjustment on their left-front tire. And then, of course, there is debris on the race track that the tire can't do anything about. So there were a number of hazards out there for the tire. Goodyear did a great job on the tire. The tires didn't wear out and they didn't lose their rubber, they didn't blister, but if we expose them to hazards beyond their design limits and/or we puncture them, we can't complain about that."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Stonebridge Life Taurus
"That was just an extremely emotional win for me because after our win at Atlanta everything was on such a high. We had a couple bad weeks there and I felt like as a team it really made us stronger. We got to look at what our weaknesses were. Jack and Bob and everyone helped me with not running into so many things and just being patient. I'm starting to get the feel for how these 400 and 500-mile races progress. To get a win like this at a time when we really need it in the points, it means the world to me. It's an awesome win."
BOB OSBORNE, Crew Chief - No. 99 Stonebridge Life Taurus
"I don't know what else to say more than what Carl said. Winning the second race, everybody says that a lot of times that's the hardest one. Some people will say you win the first one and that's beginner's luck or something like that. You win the second one and get through the second one, then it's no-holds-barred at that point. It's time to win and keep winning."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED - DID IT HELP YOU NOT TO SHIFT? "Yeah, I think not shifting helped me a little bit. I think the biggest help today, though, was my crew. They dropped the jack after that first pit stop and we pulled out and passed three or four people on pit road. I thought, 'Wow, if we have a day like this on pit road the whole day, we're gonna win this race.' That's the way it worked. They would drop the jack before everyone else each time we were on pit road and that was awesome. I also have to say thanks to Stonebridge Life. For them to come on as a one-race sponsor, I was telling people, man, this could possibly be a risky venture here coming to a race track I'd never been to. We didn't get to test. I stayed up until four in the morning doing missed approaches with Jack Roush, which, by the way, are way scarier than the tunnel turn over there. My heart was pounding."
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED
"I have more and more trouble getting people to fly with me. Getting them to fly with me the first time is not a problem, but getting them to go with me a second time is an issue."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED
"Trust is a big thing. You're looking at that gauge and it says you're 500 feet about the ground, but do you really know? It's pretty crazy, but, no, it was just an awesome day."
HOW MUCH SLEEP DID YOU GET? "I got plenty of sleep. Everyone was very accommodating to my situation. I really have to, on that note, thank the people at Cedar Ridge RV's. They're right up the road and they hooked me up with an RV this year and that's something I always saw as a luxury and now I realize it's a necessity in this sport. Jack got me on that deal and the way we did it last night was we decided I could sleep all the way up to the driver's meeting. So I went to bed around 4 o'clock and woke up about 10 o'clock this morning. I got plenty of sleep and was able to just walk out of the RV and go to the driver's meeting. I felt like a million bucks."
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED
"The true nature of Carl Edwards, you guys are starting to get a sense for it, but he did something last night that spoke volumes and I want to tell you about it. We came back from Nashville, and, of course, had this harrowing misadventure trying to get into Mt. Pocono and then went to Wilkes-Barre. Through my lack of preparation we didn't have enough cars at Wilkes-Barre to get us here. We only had Carl's truck. We had Sterling Marlin and Amanda Beard and Glenn Jarrett. We had six people in a vehicle that was organized for four. That was my fault because I hadn't made another vehicle available. This is Carl's truck and he climbs in the back and rides from Wilkes-Barre to the motorhome lot here in the back of his pickup truck at 3 o'clock in the morning at 50-60 miles an hour. I don't know how frightened he was in the back of the truck in comparison to my airplane ride, but I told Jason (Hedlesky), the driver, if you see Bambi in front, I don't want you to sweve left, I don't want you to swerve right, I want you to hit him dead center. Carl was taking a real chance last night and saw to it that the rest of us were all seated comfortably in his truck and he rode in the bed all the way from Wilkes-Barre to the motorhome lot."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED
"Jason Hedlesky, I trust his driving and he did a good job."
ROUSH: "He was trying to interview me for a driving position. He was wearing me out. I was sure he was gonna try to avoid Bambi when Bambi came up and maybe it would go bad for you (joking)."
EDWARDS: "Jason Hedlesky is my spotter in the Busch Series and he's a driver and he needs a ride. I figured it would be a good opportunity for him to sit next to Jack."
ROUSH: "It gave me pause."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED -- HOW PHYSICAL IS THIS TRACK AND DID IT HELP YOU HAVING NO EXPERIENCE HERE? "Yes, it is a physically demanding track. I listened to Jimmie Johnson's comments about this place and put a lot of stock into what he said. He said that to him it's very mentally demanding as well. I realize what he means. About 170 laps into it, it's hard sometimes to remember which corner you're going into. That sounds funny, but that's the way it gets. I think as far as not knowing, that's not the way I look at it. I have a lot of respect for the difficulty of each one of these races and I prepare for them all as if they're the most difficult one I've ever been in. So I do my best physically and mentally just to treat them all as if they're gonna be really tough. Some of them are easier than others, but this one was definitely a good match. It was a little bit physically demanding, but it takes a lot more than that to wear me out." HOW MANY LAPS DID YOU MAKE AROUND THE TRACK IN YOUR RV? "I did ride my bicycle a couple laps the other night. I've got the computer game inside my RV and I kind of wore that thing out, but that helps a lot too as far as preparing mentally. It didn't help in qualifying."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED - HOW MUCH DOES THE VIDEO GAME HELP? "It's just like a NASCAR game that you can buy on the shelf. I've got the wheel. A guy named Dave Thomas makes these wheels that are awesome. He builds them up in Iowa and I got one about two or three years ago from him and it's an awesome steering wheel. It's got the clutch and everything and it helps a little bit. There's a point where it doesn't help, but at least coming to a new track, spending about an hour on that thing really helps."
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED - MARK HAS BEEN HERE SO MANY TIMES AND HASN'T WON BUT CARL WINS IN HIS FIRST TIME? "Life isn't fair sometimes, I'm sure. I say that in no difference to Carl, but Mark's had a great car here a bunch of times. On a number of occasions we broke parts that were my responsibility and other occasions we had things happen that were nobody's fault. You have to prepare to run in the top five. You have to hand around for the end of the race, and you have to take the result that the cards play out for you. It just never worked out for Mark. Mark was in a position to run for second and I'm sure he ran over something on the race track today because he had a right-rear tire that lost its air and we had absolutely no problem with the right-rear. I'm sure that's what happened or he would have certainly been second today. It's just the way it worked. I hope Carl doesn't have to wait 37 times to win another one, but it could happen."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED -- DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT JUST RUNNING THE BUSCH RACE AND NOT THIS ONE TODAY? "To be honest with you, that is something we thought about. Boy, it sounds pretty silly to have thought about that looking back, but we actually thought about it just as an option - start this race and have someone like Ricky Craven - or I'm sure Jason was wearing you out about that one - then jump in the car and finish the race here, and then if it would work out to go back to Nashville. But that was one of those things we just talked about it and I don't think that was the right thing to do. We had a points lead there at Nashville. We needed a good points day here, and I think that we can afford to lose some points over there. If I'm not mistaken, I feel like we're gonna be right back up there before long in the Busch Series."
BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED - ANY REASON YOU DIDN'T HAVE TIRE PROBLEMS? "We just looked at past races here and picked the top finishing car from last race here and started with that setup. Of course through practice we worked on the car to make that setup work for Carl. Relative to the tire issue, I'm not 100 percent sure what caused those failures, but we definitely erred on the cautious side. We didn't run a whole lot of dynamic camber and we weren't really low on air-pressure. Our spotter, Bobby Hudson, kept on Carl all race long about staying off the rumble strips and I believe that's what kept us from having any issues."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED - ON THE BATTLE WITH VICKERS ON THE RESTART? "To be honest with you, I really have gained a lot of respect for Brian Vickers in the last three hours. That guy is an unbelievable race car driver. To go out and win the Busch Series championship and to run as well as he does in his Cup car, that says a lot. But then to see how much of a gentleman he is on the race track really meant a lot to me. I think that both of us had the feeling by the way with the thumbs up he was giving me, and goofing around everytime we'd be under yellow. I really felt like both of us were gonna be excited for the other one if we won and that meant a lot. That makes it a lot of fun to race, but on the last restart Doug Yates and all the guys have been obviously working really hard on our engines, and I felt like on the restarts I had an advantage going through the gears. I don't know if it was our gearing or if it was our engine, so I felt pretty confident about getting a good restart and being able to beat him. Once we got through that first corner, I felt really good about winning that race. I wasn't too worried about Brian after that."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED - COMPARE THE ATLANTA ENDING AND THIS ONE. "Maybe from your perspective the Atlanta one was more heart pounding, but for me as a driver being able to run second chasing a guy for the win is way, way easier than being the guy in front. It takes a different level of confidence. It takes a different style of driving to go out there and start a race in the lead and hang on. I really enjoy picking people apart and following them and trying to beat them at the end. That's something I find really fun. I really am learning to like being on the other side of it, but it takes a different style of racing. So, for me, this one was way more heart pounding. I think this is something I needed in my career. I needed to win a race like this."
YOUR CAR GOT BETTER AS IT WENT ALONG. WAS THAT BY DESIGN? "Bob can probably help with this. Obviously, Brian Vickers' car was better on the short run for most of those cautions and what happened was, it wasn't really by design, but the way it worked out our car on the first long run was really, really good so we took note. Bob said, 'Maybe we shouldn't mess with it too much. I don't want to change too much because it was good on that long run.' Bob and Bobby Hudson both did a good job of making sure that I remembered that. Even when Brian would take off on those restarts and leave, we knew that our car was a little bit better on the long run. But, like you said, historically this place has long runs. The videos I watched had long runs and I think Bob, that was one of the things he knew in the back of his mind, so we didn't adjust our car even though it wasn't that fast on a short run."
BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED
"Generally I look at the car in practice for long-run situations. Short-run sprints I rely on Carl to take up the slack and make the car go. He does a good job at that. A lot of the reasons I believe we don't do as particularly well on the short runs is because myself, Jack and Bobby Hudson stay on Carl pretty hard to conserve the car for the beginning part of the run. Most of the time during practice we're working on the car for a long run, so it ends up that way."
JACK ROUSH CONTINUED - WHY WOULD THE RUMBLE STRIP BE A PROBLEM ALL OF A SUDDEN? "I'll just say that we have a brand new tire this year that's got, from what I understand, has a little more flexible sidewall and that probably means it has less structure in it so it's more easily bruised. I would suspect that it's more easily bruised than the tire we had last year, so the risk would be there from running up on the rumble strip. It would potentially be more hazardous to the tire than what we had. That's the only way I could reconcile. As far as I know, the rumble strips are the same as they've always been and the curvature of the race track is obviously the same. So the advantage or disadvantage of getting down there, the thing that would get you on there would not have changed, so I think it's just the fact that the tire has a different characteristic and it just doesn't work well when you run on the side of something that bruises it."
DID ANYONE THINK OF THAT IN ADVANCE OF COMING HERE? "I certainly didn't. I'm not sure about Bob and Carl."
BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED
"No, not really. We haven't had that type of issue this year yet. We'll keep that in the back of our minds for the future throughout this year and it's hard to say. You can't really predict that coming into the race without any time at the track, so that would be hard to predict."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED - HOW WAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH VICKERS? 'To be honest with you, we don't really talk much. It's just like all these guys. That's probably the most time I've spent, even though we were in separate cars, we were really working each other over pretty hard. I feel like you can learn a lot about a guy in that kind of situation and, like I said, I just have a lot of respect for him. It was really awesome. He raced probably a lot more respectable manner than I was ready to, and I think it brought out the best in both of us."
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A ROOKIE? "Yes, I consider myself a rookie at any race track that I haven't gone to, and then overall, I feel like I'm just getting my legs underneath me at this level of the sport. I believe this is my 27th race, so I think I'm just kind of crossing over into that time, like Bob and I spoke about it. We don't have very many excuses left. We've got enough experience now that we should be able to run well, but I still feel like a raw rookie at places like this. When we show up, these guys have a huge advantage. It's hard to unload and be able to run with guys that have this much experience."
BOB OSBORNE CONTINUED -- CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR PIT STRATEGY WITH ABOUT 32 TO GO? "That was a frightening moment for me. A lot of the fast cars started pitting early and I thought that being the leader and running well, it would have been a mistake for us to pit and then a caution comes out and that wouldn't have worked out for us. So at that point we had to run as long as we could, as long as I felt comfortable with, to be able to stay out in front."
CARL EDWARDS CONTINUED - ON PIT STRATEGY. "I just kind of drove as hard as I could and let Bob figure that stuff out. For a minute there, I caught myself trying to figure out exactly what was going on - where everybody was. I almost asked Bob, 'How is this looking? Could you explain to me what's going on?' But I decided, you know what, Bob is the smarted guy I know and if there's anybody that can do it, he can. So I agreed to do whatever he wanted to do and it worked perfectly."